by Alysa Hemcher, City Year New Hampshire Impact Manager for the Gossler Park Elementary School team generously supported by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Lincoln Financial
When my team was asked to reflect on their first four months of service, jaws dropped at the fact that four months had already gone by. It feels like we have been collaborating, supporting each other, and laughing together for so long – and it feels like we have loved our students even longer. I asked the team to reflect on what surprised and challenged them so far in their service. I also asked them what some of our accomplishments were. This reflection was a great way for us to remember how far we’ve come.
What surprised you about your first few months of service?
One AmeriCorps Member (ACM) talked about how naturally serving in a classroom came to him. He said that although he was nervous about the level of support he could provide to students coming straight out of high school, he felt that providing tutoring and whole – class support was something he found his stride with quickly.
Another ACM talked about IJ (Idealist’s Journey – a leadership development program for ACMs) and TCRs (Team Coordinator Roles – different leadership positions in math, English, afterschool programs, and other City Year New Hampshire initiatives that allow AmeriCorps Members to be experts for their teams). Though he is enjoying diving deeper into each of these roles and responsibilities, he was surprised about how much extra work comes along with them.
Of course, we had a couple of people who were surprised by our PT (Physical Training) exercises that we perform on Friday mornings. There's nothing like some jumping jacks outside of City Hall to get you excited about serving the Manchester community.
What are some of the challenges you've faced over the past four months?
As is often a challenge for young people, waking up early! But on a deeper level...
One ACM is still challenged by how much behavior redirection he is doing with his students. He has had to be more creative in getting material to students due to this which has only improved the quality of the tutoring he provides. He is excited to use this challenge as an opportunity for him and his students to grow.
Another ACM talked about the difficulty of knowing her role in the classroom. It can be difficult when there is a classroom teacher, paraprofessional, substitute, or other school personnel in the room at any time. It can also vary from classroom to classroom and school to school. Figuring out what responsibilities are up to the AmeriCorps Member takes some time.
What are some of our accomplishments as a team?
One ACM talked about feeling fulfilled and said "my heart is full." An AmeriCorps Member also mentioned our team's resiliency and ability to bounce back after struggles. The whole team was excited about a high five they received at our school’s morning greeting from a shy student. "We made a friend!" they said. What the team was most proud of was their ability to build strong relationships in just four months with teachers, students, and other teammates. I feel most accomplished that they have learned so much about themselves in four short months, and have given so much support to our students already. We were strong as individuals before these four months started and now we are even stronger together.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining City Year, click here for information about the application process. The next application deadline is January 26th.